Student volunteers learn, grow from service

By CHRISTINA  CARAYANNOPOULOS

Graphic by BARBARA KOLB

As students dig through their closets and pull out winter wear, they find many unwanted items that do not fit. As an alternative to pitching them in the trash or dropping them at Goodwill, organizations around Milwaukee are in need of many of these items.

One such organization is Milwaukee Rescue Mission, which caters to the homeless. It provides housing, food, clothing and a place of worship for men and women with children. It also provides a Christian academy for teens.

Janelle Judy, a sophomore fashion major at Mount Mary, has volunteered at Milwaukee Rescue Mission for the last year, serving desserts at meal time.

“One man that comes on a regular basis has no shoes and instead has tissue boxes on his feet,” Judy said. “Others have no family connection.”

People get so caught up in the spirit of shopping and baking, they forget many individuals will not have the chance to go to family dinners or Christmas parties. Their children will not get presents or decorate a tree.

“I learned that I have it so good, and God has blessed me more than I can comprehend,” Judy said.

Ways to Get Involved

Mount Mary’s campus ministry is a useful resource for students wanting to make changes in the community. Lea Rosenberg, director of Campus Ministry, has worked in the ministry field for the past six years. Her role involves catering to the spiritual well-being of students, no matter what their religious background.

“God has always been important in my life and I always knew I wanted to work with people,” Rosenberg said. “I never realized until later down the road … that youth ministry or campus ministry was even an option for a job.”

The Impact on Volunteers

Professor Mary Beth Duffey, who teaches Leadership for Social Justice, supports the idea that volunteer work fosters personal growth.

We meet people who otherwise would not cross our paths,” Duffey said. “I have known students who have come to college with a fairly clear idea of a major but who changed their direction after a service experience.”

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